In a recent archaeological excavation near the city of Nara, Japan, researchers made a remarkable discovery of a 7.5-foot iron sword within a 1,600-year-old burial mound. The iron sword, which is too large to be wielded as a weapon, was likely used to protect the buried individual from evil spirits, according to Riku Murase, an archaeologist for the Nara City Archaeological Research Center. This discovery highlights the advanced metalwork technology and beliefs of the Kofun period in Japan. Complete Roman Era Residential City Discovered in Luxor, Egypt.
The Tomio Maruyama burial mound, located in a park just west of Nara, dates back to the fourth century and is one of the largest in Japan, with a diameter of over 350 feet and a height of up to 32 feet. The Nara region is dotted with thousands of burial mounds, known as kofun, which were built during the Kofun period between 300 and 710 AD. It is estimated that there may be as many as 160,000 kofun throughout Japan, with the smallest measuring around 50 feet across and some reaching hundreds of feet in size.
This particular kofun is believed to commemorate the burial of a person related to the imperial Yamato family, although excavations have only uncovered a large coffin and not any human remains. The latest excavations, however, have revealed several important artifacts from the Kofun period, including iron farming tools, eating utensils, containers made from copper, and a large bronze mirror in the shape of a shield. The oversized sword and the bronze mirror are believed to have been used to protect the dead from evil spirits and showcase the intricate metalwork techniques of the Kofun period.
The discovery of the iron sword is particularly significant as it is twice as large as any other sword found in Japan so far and serves as an example of the distinctive wavy or undulating blade swords known as dakō. Dakō swords have been found in other ancient Japanese tombs, but the exceptional size of this one sets it apart from the rest.
Kosaku Okabayashi, the deputy director for Nara Prefecture’s Archaeological Institute of Kassihara, stated that these discoveries indicate that the technology of the Kofun period was more advanced than previously thought. He referred to the iron sword and bronze mirror as masterpieces in metalwork from that period.
In conclusion, the discovery of the giant iron sword in Japan sheds light on the beliefs and advanced metalwork technology of the Kofun period. The iron sword and other artifacts found in the Tomio Maruyama kofun serve as reminders of the rich cultural heritage and history of Japan and the importance of preserving these historical sites for future generations to appreciate and learn from.